Today, we have our review of COUGAR's most recent power supply, the CMX version 3. This power supply comes in a number of different models, suiting a variety of users. The PSU is 80-PLUS bronze certified, meaning it will use power very efficiently and save money on electricity bills in comparison to cheaper power supplies. Read on for our full review and test of this product.

Firstly, this product line is certainly not aimed for the budget PC user. The CMX v3 offers impressive levels of performance, semi-modular cabling and an attractive design, suited for high-end gamers and enthusiasts. The pricing of each model reflects the premium nature of the product. If you are building a mid-range or budget PC, you will not need the levels of performance offered by this PSU and there are far cheaper options available. However, if you want a high-performance power supply for your high-end build, this could be the product for you.

As you can see above, the power supply comes in a stylish box which accurately represents its premium nature. On the front of the box, the model of the power supply is shown. As you can see, the power supply packaging shown above is 850W, however, we are reviewing the 1000W version. There is no difference in packaging other than the wattage printed on the box.

FEATURES
80-PLUS® BRONZE CERTIFIED
Up to 88% of efficiency, compliant with 80-PLUS® BRONZE efficiency requirement.

ULTRA-QUIET & TEMPERATURE-CONTROLLED 140mm FAN
140mm fan deliver optimum air flow with extremely low noise level, the fan speed automatically governed based on the temperature.

ADVANCED MODULAR CABLING
The advanced modular cable management is further improved by utilizing new flat cables that simplify installation as well as reducing air friction in order to maximize airflow. This gives gamers the power they need, and flexibility of easy upgrades they demand.

COMPATIBLE WITH THE LATEST PC TECHNOLOGY
Supports the newest specifications of ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 standards, created for usage with current and next-generation multi-core CPU platforms.

SUPPORT MULTI-GPU TECHNOLOGY
Support for PCI Express 2.0 next-generation graphic card with 8(6+2)pin PCI-E connector.

105 °C JAPANESE CAPACITORS
Highest durable 105°C Japanese capacitors provide uncompromised performance and reliability, delivering 4 times the lifespan of conventional 85°C rated capacitors.

HIGH PERFORMANCE AT 40°C
Non-stop high performance and full rated wattage at 40°C/104°F ambient temperature.

DYNAMIC DUAL-12V
Automatic dynamic load distribution on multi-12V lines provide high voltage stability power separately to the GPU and the CPU. If you are not using all output lines, the PSU automatically reroutes needed power from unused lines. This improves the performance and safety of the 12V lines considerably for systems with high-end graphics cards in SLI® or CrossFire® mode.

COMPLIANT WITH ErP Lot6 2013
Energy consumption in standby is < 0.3W, compliant with economy-friendly electrical equipment. FULL PROTECTIONS WITH OCP, SCP, OVP, UVP, OPP SPECIFICATIONS

CONTENTS & DESIGN

After unboxing the power supply, you will be greeted with the device itself, safely packaged inside some styrofoam and a thin bag (to protect the connectors). Also included in the box is a group of modular cables, a small user manual, a few cable ties, mounting screws and the AC cable. The modular cables are covered in thin, rubber insulation with the COUGAR logo printed on them, rather than the usual material covering of the cables.

The power supply casing itself is a unique, stylish design, encompassing the orange and black theme of the COUGAR brand. The power supply is slightly more deep than the standard ATX measurement, however, this should not pose any problems to the majority of users. The non-modular cables of the power supply (motherboard, CPU and one PCI-E) are covered in the standard black sleeving and leave the unit through a small hole. Also present on this side of the unit are the eight connections for modular cables (four SATA/peripheral and four PCI-E). The full set of eight modular cables are included in the 1000W model, while lower wattage models have fewer cables.

On the side of the unit which will face outwards when mounted in your PC is the COUGAR logo, printed on an orange and black background, capturing the theme of the COUGAR brand. If your case is windowed, the design will appear premium and stylish. The base of the power supply (which will be hidden) features a sticker showing the specs, model, serial number and some safety information.

The external side of the power-supply (which will be visible at the back of the PC) has the standard hexagonal perforations, a large power switch and the AC cable connection. It will appear plain and should blend in perfectly with most PC chassis. Overall, the power supply has a modern, premium design which is solid and represents the cost and performance of the product.

INTERNAL COMPONENTS
The CMX v3 does not only feature a premium design, it also hosts a premium set of internal components which deliver long-lasting, high-quality performance. The fan used is a DFB132512H by Young Lin Tech, one of the best 140mm cooling fans available for power supplies, with a maximum speed of 2500RPM. This fan will provide more than adequate cooling for the power supply, making it highly unlikely that the device will overheat, even at maximum use.

The internal build quality is great, using components almost entirely supplied by HEC (the parent company of Cougar). The PSU generates a 12V line, while the 3.3V and 5V lines are produced using conversion circuits. As stated earlier, the power supply has an 80-PLUS bronze rating, however, from the internal components, it is strange that the PSU did not get a higher rating. In effect, I would imagine it will perform slightly better than 80-PLUS bronze standards, however, it cannot be verified this will be the case for all setups.

BENCHMARKING
As we do not have professional power testing equipment, we will be testing the power supply using benchmark tests in a PC setup. For all tests, the power supply was tested in a high-end PC in a room at normal room temperature.

TEMPERATURE
The power supply performed well under load in terms of temperature. At minimum load (around 30% for our setup), the exhaust air from the power supply had a temperature of approximately 29°C. When this load increased to maximum (97% on our setup), the temperature of the air leaving the power supply was approximately 35.5°C. This temperature is excellent for a power supply at maximum load, and it shows that the cooling system is adequate for high-end, long-lasting use. A breakdown of temperatures are shown below:

30% LOAD - 29°C
40% LOAD - 30.5°C
50% LOAD - 31.5°C
60% LOAD - 32°C
70% LOAD - 33°C
80% LOAD - 33.8°C
90% LOAD - 34.8°C
97% LOAD - 35.5°C

NOISE
While the fan is excellent for cooling, it is not the most quiet fan on the market. Up to around 35% load, the fan is not very noticeable, however, as that figure increases, it becomes audible (at around 50%) and is considerably loud at full load. Despite this, it is bearable and few people will be using the power supply at maximum load.

POWER OUTPUT
Multimeter readers taken at varying loads allow us to conclude that the 5V and 3.3V lines are ALWAYS within ±0.1V, while the 12V line is within ±0.3V. At 70% load, the 5V and 3.3V lines supply their exact voltages. When the load drops below 50% or above 85%, they usually sit 0.1V above their stated outputs. The 12V line averages at 12.2V most of the time, however, the voltage can increase to 12.3V when idle.

EFFICIENCY
At 230V AC input, the power supply manages to comfortably achieve 80-PLUS silver ratings. At 50% load, it peaks at almost 90% efficiency, while at idle & maximum load, efficiency sits at 85.5% to 86%. The reason the power supply did not receive the 80-PLUS silver rating is due to the fact that when supplied with only 110V AC, it drops below 85% efficiency at idle and 100% loads, while the peak performance is reduced to just under 88.5%. This unfortunate means it sits just outside the limits of 80-PLUS bronze, however, if you will be using it at 230V, it will perform to 80-PLUS silver standards for you.

PRICING & CONCLUSION

In conclusion, this power supply certainly offers premium performance, suitable for high-end gaming builds. The excellent performance is also met with a top-class stylish design, which is great for windowed PC cases. The efficiency, power regulation and cooling performance are all impressive for the class of the power supply and more than adequate for a high end PC build.

In terms of pricing, the 700W version clocks in at an RRP of $109.99, the 850W costs $129.99 while the 1000W comes in at $159.99, all excellent value for the quality. For this reason, the COUGAR CMX v3 is our recommended high-end power supply!